Tuesday, March 13, 2012

4 Churches, 4 Teams, 1 God: Church Plant Tours Week 1

This week, our launch team was divided up into 4 groups and visited 4 different healthy church plants all within approximately 2 hours of Bloomington.  This week, teams visited churches in Morton, Galesburg, Naperville, and Chicago.

The central welcome area:
Soul City Church in Chicago

Entrance to children's area:
Northwoods Community in Galesburg

Since I have not yet mastered the art of being in 4 places at once, and have not yet had a chance to hear all the fun details from everyone's adventure, I will simply outline from my point of view:  Soul City Church in Chicago's West Loop. 

Our group had a truly wonderful time at Soul City Church. Soul City is a church committed to leading people into a transforming relationship with Jesus.  They are not confused about their mission, and they know their target audience...they know their city (or at least their portion of their city!)  (Example:  between services they set out dog biscuits and a water bowl for the pets of dog walkers.  Several people have stopped by the church service because of that small act.  They got someone's attention.) 

One example of the great signage displayed throughout Soul City

The sermon was great, and I think I'll give a little re-cap since, well, I can.  The pastor of Soul City talked about a fun and easy topic:  debt.  (Hahahaha, not fun, not easy!)  This was a really great sermon for such a tough topic.  There was an excellent use of scripture, and both humor and seriousness were infused throughout.  Anyway, so we thought about the ramifications of reaching into our future to pay for our present.  Essentially, slavery is still going on in multiple forms, and one of the ways is through the credit card industry.  Proverbs 22:7 "The rich rule over the poor, and the borrower is slave to the lender."  Learning to say "no" now leads to years of "yes" later.  We need to learn to say no to our credit cards.  God has something for us:  wisdom, courage, tough discipline, and blessing.  What does the credit card industry have for us?  Think about this:  in the US there is 2.4 trillion dollars of consumer debt, and Americans charged 51 billion dollars worth of fast food to their credit cards in 2006.  A date that costs $150 (remember, this is Chicago) charged to a credit card now will cost $171 paid off over 18 months.  (Will you even remember your date's face in 18 months?!) 

See Deut. 15:4-8 for additional scripture.
Structural pillars filled with scripture and prayers 
(Kind of looks like I made this picture so "cool" on purpose... but I'm experiencing some blogger difficulties.  Check back for clearer pics later!)

Worship at Soul City

All-in-all, we really were blessed with the opportunity to go out and visit, and see what other thriving church plants are doing.  It is fun to have your brain "stretched" and see possibilities - because, as you know, with God, all things are possible.  And it is refreshing to see God working all over.  Sometimes it's easy to get caught up in your own little corner of the universe and forget that we have a MIGHTY, FAR-REACHING GOD, who is constantly awake, aware, and on our side.

Romans 8:28 "And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose."


Soul City Church:
For more on Soul City, visit http://soulcitychurch.com/ or check out their video channel which gives more info on their story http://vimeo.com/31795844.

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